Android is really turning into a jack of all trades, having become the OS of choice for phones, tablets, face computers, and now wristwatches. The combination of flexibility, open source code, and low cost of entry make it a prime candidate for countless utilitarian purposes. With the upcoming release of Android L, Google is aiming to make it even easier to deploy highly specialized environments with a new feature called Task Locking that allows a single app to take control of the interface and prevent users from switching apps or even seeing notifications.
Games made specifically for Android Wear devices were almost inevitable. Despite the small size, there's a lot of potential for Wear integration for full-sized Android games - you could use your watch as a Star Trek-style alert system for an RPG, or as a fun secondary screen, like the Visual Memory Unit on the old Dreamcast. Even games limited to Wear itself could do a lot with simple taps or swipes.
Based on evidence from two tipsters, it seems all but inevitable that Google Now will be receiving media and music playback controls at some point in the future. Some users are already seeing these actions in proto-form on their devices, which can be activated simply by saying "next song." What appears, if your account is enabled for the feature, is shown in the left screenshot. If the function doesn't work, you'll see the one on the right.
Another month, another set of platform distribution numbers. The constant ebb and flow of Android's population by version number continues to swing in KitKat's favor, though not by a whole lot. Android 4.4 is up 4.3% month over month during the 7-day period measured by Google from July 1st to the 7th, while Jelly Bean appears to have undergone its first net shrinkage. Though the number of 4.2 installs grew by 0.6%, 4.1 fell 1.2%, and 4.3 by 1.3%, marking a net decline for Jelly Bean of 1.9%.
Google's hot new item, Android Wear, is barely out of the box, but there's already a pretty big issue deserving of a place in our Bug Watch series. The initial rush of native Android Wear apps is starting to roll into the Play Store as developers get their hands dirty with the freshly released SDK. So far, most of these apps have been given away at no cost, but the few that have attempted to charge a fee have run into a wall.
Google has only posted official images of the Android L developer preview for the WiFi Nexus 7 and the Nexus 5, but Nexus 4 users want a piece of the action too. That's why folks on XDA have been burning the midnight oil to get Android L running on last year's Nexus. Beta 2 of the N4 port is now up, and it seems to have resolved the showstopper bugs from the first one.
You saw Android Wear a couple of months ago when Google unveiled the SDK and both LG and Motorola presented the first promotional pictures. Then you watched the Google I/O keynote that officially launched the LG G Watch and Samsung's surprise addition of the Gear Live. And now you've got a shiny, brand new Android Wear watch before you... but all you can think about is ripping into the digital guts of that thing and doing all of the awful things that Google never intended.
In the run-up to I/O (starting all the way back in March), we posted a relatively large number of leaks and rumors based on information that was provided to us about some of Google's plans. It's easy to lose track of all the rumors, and just how accurate they turned out (or didn't turn out) to be, so we thought it would be helpful to do a quick recap of the pre-I/O rumors now that the dust has settled.
Classic Nintendo fans will recall Yoshi's Island, one of the the best platform games of its kind. They'll also recall the brain-piercing wail that Baby Mario made each and every time he fell off of Yoshi's back, which continued unabated until the player rescued him. That's basically the idea behind Wear Aware, which will create the same kind of connection between your shiny new Android Wear watch and your phone.
The app is incredibly simple, just download it from the Play Store and it will install the necessary component on your Wear device.